The growth rate of diamond by chemical vapour deposition (CVD) from microwave (MW) plasma activated CH4/H2 gas mixtures can be significantly enhanced by adding trace quantities of N2 to the process gas mixture. Reasons for this increase remain unclear. The present article reports new, self-consistent two-dimensional modelling of MW activated N2/H2 and N2/CH4/H2 plasmas operating at pressures and powers relevant to contemporary diamond CVD, the results of which are compared and tensioned against available experimental data. The enhanced N/C/H plasma chemical modelling reveals the very limited reactivity of N2 under typical processing conditions and the dominance of N atoms amongst the dilute 'soup' of potentially reactive N-containing species incident on the growing diamond surface. Ways in which these various N-containing species may enhance growth rates are also discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
MNRA is grateful to many past research group members who helped in gathering the experimental data against which the current self-consistent 2D model outputs are tensioned. YuAM acknowledges support from RFBR for Grant No. 19-08-01250. The work was performed within the Cooperation in Science and Technology Agreement between Lomonosov Moscow State University, Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics, and the University of Bristol.
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.